Pinecrest Runs Away From Overhills
Raphael Alston returned the second half kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown, providing Pinecrest with a much-needed lift in its first game following last week's fight-marred affair with Union Pines.
The electrifying run broke a scoreless tie against visiting Overhills. The Patriots, now 3-0, put points on the board on four of their five second-half possessions to grab a 24-6 victory.
Damion Pride rushed for a touchdown and quarterback Travis Scales passed to Kyle Ocheltree for another. Jeremy Brock kicked a 21-yard field goal and three extra points.
Defensively, Christo Bounthanom was credited with two of the Patriots' four sacks of Jaguar quarterback Danny Karrs, and D.J. Simpson blocked a punt.
Three players each from Pinecrest and Union Pines were given two-game suspensions for fighting as a result of actions announced by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association on Thursday. The Patriots won the game played at Pinecrest 69-14.
Additional players were suspended by their schools. Both schools were fined $1,000 and both teams have been barred from participating in the state playoffs this season.
Four illegal procedure calls in the first half against the offense and three offside calls against the defense were signs the distractions of the week were taking their toll on the Patriots.
"It's always tough to come back after losing players," Ocheltree, the Patriot quarterback for the first two offensive series, said. "We shouldn't have been having the penalties we did. But I can say that probably was a direct result of the pressure everyone has been under all week, trying to show how Pinecrest really is."
The closest the teams got to scoring points in the opening half were two missed field goals by the Pats and one by the Jags. Alston's 78-yard dash that took 13 seconds off the clock changed everything.
"Once Raph broke that kickoff return, the whole offensive line got fired up and started opening up holes really good," Pride said.
Brock sent the ensuing kickoff 6 yards deep into the end zone for a touchback. Moments later, Simpson blocked a punt and it was recovered by Allen Watson on the Jaguar 26-yard line. Simpson was injured on the play and did not return to action.
Pride picked up 12 yards, leading to a 21-yard field goal by Brock three plays later that made it 10-0.
Early in the fourth period, Pride set up his 3-yard touchdown run with a 20-yard scamper. Brock's conversion made it 17-0.
The Jags responded with a 90-yard drive in 11 plays, culminating in a 14-yard scoring run by Tyree Massey. Now trailing 17-6, they recovered an onside kick.
But on second down from the Patriot 48, James Harrison and Dylan Gaffney combined to sack Karrs for a 7-yard loss. The visitors turned the ball back to the Pats on downs two plays later.
Starting from the Jaguar 47, Scales threw the fade off play action to Ocheltree down the left sideline. The versatile senior caught the ball at the 5-yard line and kept his balance to complete a 29-yard scoring play.
"Someone in the press box saw the corners were crashing in on the fakes," Ocheltree said. "It was a strategic play call."
The Patriots rushed for 168 yards on 36 carries led by Pride with 85 on 18 attempts. They finished with a total offense of 217 yards compared to 149 for Overhills, now 0-3 on the season.
Seniors like Pride and Ocheltree have concluded there is still plenty to play for even though the playoffs are out the picture.
"We felt like we had something to prove after the -incident that happened last week," Pride said. "Our spirits are really high. We have conference to get now. We're not down or anything."
Afterward, head coach Chris Metzger talked about the kind of week it was while the incident was being investigated and penalties were being determined by school and NCHSAA officials.
"I wouldn't say it's been a rough week," he said. "It's been a week where character, our resolve and our commitment to each other has been tested. We passed the test with flying colors.
"We have to continue to do our job as coaches and motivate the kids and keep them excited about the opportunities."
After opening the season with three home games in a row, the Patriots travel to West Johnston (1-2) on Friday.
Overhills 0 0 0 6 6
Pinecrest 0 0 10 14 24
Scoring: (P) Alston 78-yard kickoff return (Brock kick); (P) Brock 21 field goal; (P) Pride 3-run (Brock kick); (O) Massey 14-run (run failed); (P) K. Ocheltree 29-pass from Scales (Brock kick).
Team stats: First downs (O) 13 (P) 12; Rushing yards - (O) 39-61 (P) 36-168; Passing - (O) 7-14, 88 yds. (P) 3-9, 50 yds.; Penalties - (O) 5-55 (P) 12-90; Fumbles - (O) 3-0 (P) 3-0.
Individual stat leaders: Rushing - (O) Massey 14-54, McCoy 17-49, Karrs 6-(-40) (P) Pride 18-85, Alston 7-59, Scales 9-25; Passing - (O) Karrs 7-14, 88 yds. (P) Scales 3-9, 49 yds.; Receiving - (O) Rogers 2-18, Massey 2-38, Kinslow 1-17 (P) K. Ocheltree 2-38, Moore 1-12.
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